The fall has been filled with some strange weather here on the East Coast! We have had days that are as cold as Winter, days as hot as Summer and rainy days to no end! Sunday, October 3rd was no exception to the unpredictable weather. I was scheduled to walk and talk at the Walk for the Alzheimer's Association at Rehoboth Beach, but alas, mother nature had other plans. It rained and I arrived to find an empty, but drenched park! I had a fabulous photoshoot that afternoon with Paul Pruitt and was able to have some time with my family that evening.
This week was a business-filled week. Monday and Tuesday were catchup days for me. I was catching up on missed workouts, sleep, paperwork, donation requests, thank-you cards, emails, photos, and so on. Wednesday morning I visited the Miss Delaware haircare sponsor, Michael Christopher's Salon in Wilmington to have my nails manicured with their new polish product! I ran errands while upstate, and visited with an old friend before heading down to Dover to volunteer with the Military 4-H program! Thursday and Friday I worked out at the gym, and called several local businesses soliciting donations for my live auction fundraiser. My to-do list was finally dwindling!
Saturday was the heavily awaited, annual Apple Scrapple Festival in Bridgeville! For those of you who have never heard of scrapple, it is essentially pork mush and scraps. Yum! The weather was rather warm that day as I participated in the Scrapple Sling contest with many local politicians where we each had to throw a frozen block of Scrapple and see how far we could toss it. My first toss was relatively acceptable, but the second slipped through my fingers as the Scrapple block began to sweat from the heat. Luckily, Miss Delaware has some pull, and the host 'inadvertently' kicked my Scrapple into the 8 spot! Although I did not win, I had a great time! That evening I was invited to attend a reception at the home of Joe Conaway where I enjoyed lots of homemade, delicious food made by his terrific wife!
Sunday I woke up early to speak at the Walk for Diabetes at the Dover Downs Monster Mile! I had a wonderful time there, and met so many terrific survivors. I had forgotten my camera that day, so unfortunately I won't be able to post photos. From the walk, I drove to Milford to rehearse for The Nutcracker with the Diamond Dance Company! It is great to be back in the studio and performing in one of my favorite shows! I decided to try to get to bed early that night because I knew I had a long week ahead of me!
Early Monday morning I was on the road with my second parents, Mr. and Mrs. Gillis, who were so generous as to drive me to Johnstown, PA. After six hours of traveling, we reached the Bridal Suite of Johnstown where I had my first fitting for my Miss America gowns! We also picked up the 25 Bridal Gowns that Ronnie and Deborah so generously donated to help me raise money to afford my dream talent costume!!! All of the gowns are so beautiful- I cannot thank Ronnie and Deborah enough for supporting me and for donig everything they can to make sure I look and feel like a Miss America when I am in my wardrobe.
Monday was a long day, but Tuesday was welcomed with a luncheon at Dover Downs with the University of Delaware Cooperative Extension Staff where I spoke about my experiences in 4-H and had the opportunity to thank my mentors and colleagues for all of their support over the past 16 years. That night I packed up my suitcase and read over all of my materials for the two days ahead of me!
Early Wednesday morning I left Philadelphia and was on a plane to Columbus, OH for the National 4-H Council's Board of Trustees meeting! Once I arrived, I was shuttled over to the Ohio State University where I checked in, changed and readied myself for the reception that evening at the home of the University's President. My favorite part was not only the delicious food, but the terrific company. I had the pleasure of meeting the other 30 members of the Board of Trustees, Ohio State University 4-H'ers and even local 4-H youth from all different demographics.
Thursday was filled with board meetings where I quickly realized what an honor it is to have been invited as a new trustee. All of the members are successful in their respective careers, and genuinely care for today's youth. Landel Hobbs, the COO of Time Warner Cable was welcomed as the other new trustee, and it was a great opportunity to network with someone who works in the field of which I hope to pursue a career. Representatives from JC Penney, WalMart, New York Life, prestigious universities and much more are among the other trustees. Thank you to Don Floyd, the CEO of National 4-H Council for inviting me onto the Board and for making my first experience so comfortable. I look forward to playing an important role on the council and helping to make decisions that with shape the program which I attribute so much of my success.
After the last meeting that afternoon I was on a plane, returning to Philadelphia International Airport. I ate and slept as soon as I made it home. What a busy week already!
Friday morning I worked out and then drove to Milford for an early lunch and interview with Milford's newest online news source, Milford Live. Bryan Shupe, the creator of Milford Live asked all sorts of questions about my preparations for Miss America and what events I will be a part of in our hometown of Milford. After I talked his ears off, I was on the road again headed to the University and Whist Club in Wilmington for the Chocolate and Roses Tea. I was asked to model for Ladies Image, a shop in nothern DE and loved one of the dresses so much, I had to purchase it! One of the families in attendance was just so sweet, that I stayed after to chat with their daughter and her best friend. They were both so friendly and so beautiful- I asked them to consider getting involved with the Miss Delaware's Outstanding Teen Program, and I surely hope they do!
Saturday was the busiest day of all! My family and I were preparing all morning for my two fundraisers that day- the Bridal Blowout Sale, with the gowns donated by the Bridal Suite of Johnstown, followed by a Pulled Pork Dinner and Live Auction! The proceeds of these events were to benefit my Miss America talent preparations and dance costume. My mother worked tirelessly for days and weeks to pull off these events to ensure that I make it to Miss America knowing I had the best preparation possible. I could go on for days but I want to thank my mother for all of her hard work, and for caring more than anyone else that I am fully prepared for Miss America. I never doubt that she is behind me 100%, and I know she always will be. I love you so much, Mom!
Thanks to my mother and father, Herbie and Debbie Kenton, Georgeann White, Mr. and Mrs. Gillis, The Bridal Suite of Johnstown, Brittany and Vicky Dempsey and so many local businesses and community members, I was able to reach my fundraising goal for my talent! I love you all!
Sunday I felt a huge sigh of relief knowing the fundraiser was complete! That afternoon I spoke at the Kent County 4-H Banquet where I spoke about the relation between the 4 Points of the Miss America Crown to the 4 H's. I had such a lovely dinner and enjoyed my time with my 4-H family!
I rushed from the banquet over to the Rickshaw Rumble at Harrington Raceway where I participated as a driver! I was pulled by my "horse", driver, Victor Kirby! He was such a great sport, and took wonderful care of me. This was a fundraiser to protect retired horses, and hopefully find them homes. A special Thank You to Chuck Ivins for sponsoring me in this event! I had a blast and enjoyed the company of my best friend, and former Miss Delaware, Brittany Dempsey!
Whew! What a busy two weeks! Thank you for checking in to see how my year is going. I hope to make all of you proud in January!
Yours in service,